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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 April 2023

1

Warning as Brits flee Sudan

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that the fighting in Sudan could cause “immense suffering for years” as the latest flights carrying British nationals from the country are expected to arrive in Cyprus. The Foreign Office and British troops are leading the attempt to get UK nationals out of the east African country during a 72-hour ceasefire. Once it was clear the ceasefire was holding, trapped Brits were told to make their own way to an airstrip near the Sudanese capital Khartoum. 

Sudan evacuation: has Foreign Office learnt the lessons from Afghanistan?

2

Case claim over Sue Gray delay

The head of the civil service has tried to block Sue Gray from working with Labour as Keir Starmer’s chief of staff until after the next general election, said The Guardian. According to sources in Whitehall, Simon Case, Gray’s former civil service boss in the Cabinet Office, had “pushed for” the government’s appointments watchdog to delay her starting the new job for the maximum two years. Case is thought to have personally clashed with Gray during her Partygate investigation and its aftermath.

Civil service neutrality: is it time for a more politicised Whitehall?

3

Sturgeon search ‘trauma’

Nicola Sturgeon has said the police investigation into the SNP that led to her husband’s arrest is beyond her “worst nightmares” and that the search of their home was “very traumatic”. Sturgeon confirmed that she had not been questioned by Police Scotland or spoken to First Minister Humza Yousaf since her husband Peter Murrell’s arrest on April 5. Sturgeon “shocked the political world” in February when she suddenly announced her intention to resign as First Minister and SNP leader after eight years in charge, said the Daily Record.

Should Nicola Sturgeon quit the SNP?

4

Prince William hacking claim

Prince Harry “appears to have scuppered any hope of a reconciliation with his brother” at the Coronation after claiming that Prince William received a secret payment from Rupert Murdoch’s media company over phone hacking claims, said The Telegraph. In court papers made public yesterday, Harry claims that William received a “huge sum” as part of a private settlement for being a victim of hacking by the News Group Newspapers, the owners of The Sun and the now defunct News of the World. The Telegraph said the “revelation of the secret payment will only serve to drive a deeper wedge” between the brothers, just 12 days before the Coronation.

King’s coronation: does Prince Harry’s return signal end of royal rift?

5

Bank of England top economist under fire

The Bank of England’s top economist has come under fire after he said people in the UK need to accept that they are poorer. Speaking to the Beyond Unprecedented podcast, Huw Pill said there was a “reluctance to accept that, yes, we’re all worse off”. He said that, as prices rose, workers had responded by asking for wage increases and businesses were charging more, which added to inflation. Pill’s comments “risk attracting fresh criticism that Threadneedle Street is out of touch over the cost of living crisis”, said The Guardian.

6

Canadian poison investigation

A chef in Canada has been accused of supplying young people in Britain with a lethal poison to enable them to take their own lives, according to an investigation by The Times. Kenneth Law, who has been sending the substance to vulnerable people around the world from Canada for two years, allegedly told an undercover reporter posing as a suicidal buyer how to take the substance to ensure death. The Times report claims up to seven deaths, including four in the UK, are linked to the poison. The Canadian authorities are said to be investigating.

7

Islamic State chief killed

The Islamic State leader thought to have planned the deadly 2021 bombing at Kabul airport has been killed by Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, according to US officials. The militant, who has not been named, was reportedly the mastermind behind the bombing in August 2021 that killed 170 civilians and 13 US soldiers as people were desperately trying to flee the country when the Taliban took control. Officials learnt of the death in Afghanistan weeks ago, but told CBS News that it had taken some time to confirm the event.

Pentagon ‘blames UK’ for deadly Kabul airport suicide attack, leak reveals

8

Ardern moves to Harvard

Former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern will study and speak on leadership, governance and online extremism at Harvard University. Writing on Instagram, Ardern – who announced in January that she would step down from politics – said that she was “incredibly humbled” to be joining the institution on joint fellowships at the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. She will also be involved in work around the growth of generative AI tools, noted the New Zealand Herald.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern blames burnout for shock resignation

9

‘Vortex’ stops killers from blood splat

Researchers have discovered why murderers sometimes don’t get covered in blood, reported The Telegraph. Experts found that when bullets are fired they create a “spinning column of air” and “propellant gases” between the victim and shooter, which can “pull blood splatter backwards towards the target”. The study, in the journal Physics of Fluids, also found that the initial impact of the shot “forces the spatter out in a cone-shaped mist either side of the shooter” while the “vortex effect sucks any central particles back the way they came”.

10

Sheeran denies plagiarism

Ed Sheeran has appeared in a New York City court to deny that his track Thinking Out Loud copied Marvin Gaye’s song Let’s Get it On. A lawyer called Sheeran’s use of Gaye’s lyrics at his concerts a “smoking gun”. However, countered Sheeran: “If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be a quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.” As the trial began, US District Judge Louis Stanton warned the jury that despite the fact that music will be played in court: “We don’t allow dancing.”

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